June 30, 2012

I Will Get to You (Adoption Thoughts)

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 3:57 pm by Tamara

One of the things I want to do for my internship is interview adoptive/foster families, so I started with my supervisor at the non-profit I’ve been interning with.  At one point she said something that really struck me:

“I knew I had a child in China.”

I shared this with Adam and he said it struck him the same way it did me.  We generally talk in impersonal terms like “there are thousands of kids who need parents,” which sounds so overwhelming and abstract and unreal.  But to think that WE could have a one of OUR children in another country, waiting for us to come rescue them, pierces me in an entirely different way.

The first night after Bear was born, we stayed in the hospital and he slept in his bassinet at the food of my bed.  I had ended up needing a c-section and had only been in recovery a few hours, so I was still pretty much immobile in bed.  At some point during the night, Bear made a tiny sound that sounded a little like choking.  Within an instant I was on my hands and knees on the foot of the bed, scooping him up and checking to make sure everything was okay.  He was perfectly fine and I soon put him back down, and only then did I realize what I’d just done: I had been flat on my back with a major incision in my stomach, numb from pain killers and basically unable to use my abdominal muscles, tangled with 11 cords attached all over my body, yet the instant I’d thought my baby was in danger something had absolutely propelled me to his side.  I couldn’t even lie back down again without Adam’s help, but somehow I had gotten to my baby when he needed me.

I realized right then that with Bear’s birth an incredible protective force had been born in my heart.  Nothing—ever—was going to keep me away from my baby when he needed me.

This came to my mind today when Adam and I were talking about the possibility that we have a child in another country.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if Bear was in an overwhelmed orphanage on the other side of the world, or being moved from foster home to foster home across the city, I would move heaven and earth to get to him.  I would stop at nothing—-nothing—-that was in my power to get to him.  I wouldn’t be stopped by money, or fear, or overwhelming amounts of paperwork, or how tiny our apartment is, or whether it seemed practical, or what other people thought about it.  I would Get. To. My. Child.    Period.

It’s admittedly a bit mind-boggling to think that one of our children might be in another country.  But, if God calls us to adopt, that child is our child, regardless of race or country or biology, and He has known it all along.  It just might take us a little longer to figure it out.  When I think about it that way, from God’s perspective, and wonder if one of my children is somewhere else, separated from me, it lights a fire under me.  If God is calling me to adopt, then I have a child far away who needs me and is waiting for me.  And nothing—nothing-–is going to keep me away from them.

All this can’t help but make me think about what God has done for me.  This fierce, passionate love and protectiveness in me for both the child in my arms and any children who are far away is a reflection of how He feels about us.

There’s a story in John, where Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of the Jews, who considered themselves the “true children” of God.  Yet, here is Jesus, stunning them by calling them blind sinners.  He starts telling a story about a flock of sheep, and how a hired hand will abandon the sheep when wolves come because he’s just an employee and doesn’t really care about the sheep.  But, Jesus says, He loves the sheep because He is the good shepherd.  In fact, He loves His sheep so passionately that He is going to give up his life for them.

Then He says an interesting thing: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me….  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10: 1-18).

Those “other sheep” that Jesus is talking about, are US–all of us who aren’t born Jews.  Even though we weren’t born into His own people group and family, Jesus considered us His children.  And, rather than moving heaven and earth to get to us, He moved himself across heaven and earth to come to us.  He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

That same passage says that Jesus’ own people rejected Him; in fact, they would later kill him.  But, to the people who did accept Him, “He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:2-14).

So, in reality, *I* am an adopted child.  I wasn’t born into God’s family biologically, but He knew me and loved me and knew I would accept Him.  He gave everything He had, right down to His very life, to rescue me.  He didn’t let anything keep Him away from me, but came all the way into my world to save me and, eventually, will take me home with Him.

We don’t know what will happen with our family and adoption, but we are trusting God that, if one of our children has been or will be born in another country or across the city, He will get us to him or her, no matter what it takes.  Will you pray with us?

June 27, 2012

My Adoption Internship

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , at 7:30 pm by Tamara

I mentioned here how one of the things we were concerned about if we want overseas was the timing of my internship.  Three years ago I decided to go back to school for my degree in Psychology: Christian Counseling through Liberty University Online.  I finished my coursework in May (YAY!!) and then needed to complete an internship in order to graduate.

I was pretty stressed out about trying to find a position.  I have a hard time asking for help when I have nothing to give in return (I know, I know: pride), plus I felt rather insecure/ridiculous looking for a counseling internship as an undergrad student. I was also really unsure how it was going to work with Berean, since Adam’s working three jobs and not available much to watch him.  And, honestly I was resenting having to be away from Berean, even if only part-time.  I love staying at home with him!

So, frankly, I put off looking until way too late, and was really down to the wire.  I started praying hard that God would help me find an internship where I could both really learn something and really serve Him.  Praise the Lord he’s faithful even when I’m not, because he graciously answered my prayers to help me find a position.  Through a long, unlikely string of people that stretched over several states, I was connected with a non-profit that provides support services for orphans and adoptive/foster families.

I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff, from interviewing adoptive families, to researching grants, to soliciting donations, to helping deliver meals.  Tomorrow I find out about doing some work with an agency that uses animals in therapy, which I am REALLY excited about.  I think animal-assisted therapy could be fantastic for kids with attachment disorders.  In July I get to sit in on the CORE adoption training that Colorado requires for potential adoptive parents, which is another huge blessing because it’s a costly training and they’re letting me attend for free.

Our most recent big event was a night where foster and adoptive families dropped off their kids for a one night VBS-like program.  The goal was to give them a much-needed night off and hopefully relieve some pressure so that they can keep providing quality care and loving homes and avoid a failed placement.  We had about 50 kids and 20 volunteers, and I think it was a smashing success!

One thing I’ve been hearing consistently is that practical things like a meal or a night of babysitting can be a huge help.  One amazing adoptive mother of several children who’ve had a lot of struggles to overcome put it this way, “You can get so emotionally and mentally overwhelmed by the struggles your family is going through that just the thought of fixing dinner is completely overwhelming.  Sometimes just having a few meals delivered or someone helping you clean your house is enough to help you feel like you can face another day and not give up and send the child back into the system.”

It makes perfect sense to me.  When you’re going through a very emotionally demanding situation, it’s almost like your brain and spirit are dedicating so much of your strength to getting through it that there’s very little left over for practical, everyday things.  We understand this when it comes to things like grieving a lost loved one or giving birth, but I think we can miss how intense adoption can be and how much we can help and support adoptive families.

Something another mother said hit me like a ton of bricks: “It can be very hard to ask for help when you need it, because there can be a feeling that ‘You got yourself into this’ so you aren’t allowed to say you’re struggling and ask for help.”  That statement just about bowled me over.

I’ve been learning a lot from these adoptive parents and I want to write about it, but it’s kind of intimidating, because 1) I haven’t adopted (yet!) so I can’t speak from experience, and 2) I recognize that everyone’s experience is different, and some things I write about might be dead-on for some adoptive parents and completely in left-field for others.

But…adoption and orphan care are things I care about, and that I firmly believe we as the Church are called and commanded to do.  So I think it’s good to think and dialogue about it, even if I don’t get everything right.  And secondly, my internship supervisor asked me to write about it.  So I don’t really have a choice.  ;)

At any rate, hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be posting more thoughts, both what I’m hearing from adoptive parents and what I’m studying in the Word.  If you have adopted or fostered, feel free to comment with your thoughts and experiences!  And if you know someone who has adopted or fostered, why not see if you can drop off a meal and watch the kids for an evening (or whatever else they need!)?  : )

June 26, 2012

Book Review: Taliesin (Book 1 of the Pendragon Cycle)

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , at 12:07 am by Tamara

Title: Taliesin

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

Genre: Fantasy, Christian

Star Verdict (out of 5): **

Princess Charis lives in the beautiful land of Atlantis, where peace has reigned for years and (in her opinion) nothing exciting ever happens.  Her boredom is quickly shattered, however, when the country erupts into civil war and a wild prophet arrives, claiming that the end of Atlantis and everything the Atlantians love is at hand.

Far away from lovely Atlantis lies the rough and uncivilized Isle of Britain, where the unlucky heir to one clan’s throne, Elphin, stumbles upon a baby abandoned in a salmon weir.  His luck begins to change from that day forward, and the bards prophesy that the child will be great and herald in a new age.

After tragedy strikes Charis’ family, she begins to believe the prophecy that Atlantis is soon to be destroyed, and begins to try to convince the rest of the Atlantians that they need to flee their home.

 

I have to say that I really didn’t enjoy this book.  I probably wouldn’t have finished it at all, except that it was recommended to me by several people.  My main complaint about it is that the character development is either non-existent or utterly unbelievable.  Charis, throughout the book, inexplicably changes from a bored little girl to an emotionally dead warrior woman to a fluffy, swooning, docile lover.  I found it very hard to care about a character who, as Atlantis is sinking and “dragging screaming thousands with it…watched it all with cold and ruthless objectivity, feeling nothing” (p. 306).  And then to expect me to believe that she suddenly turns into a love-sick, sweet, sensitive wife was ridiculous.

In another rip-my-hair-out bad character switch, a king is about to have Taliesin’s tongue cut out when Taliesin starts singing, and the king instantly melts into a puddle of remorse, banishes his own priest, and all but hands his kingdom over to Taliesin.  I could go on with several other examples of inexplicable and unbelievable character shifts.

In addition to the dismal lack of believable character development, I found the plot to be jarring and full of too-easy solutions to problems.  It was grating to make the jump back and forth from mythical Atlantis to Britain during the dark ages; it felt like I was reading Hercules and Arthurian legend at the same time, and the two story lines just didn’t combine well.  Also, every problem the characters run into is solved almost instantly.  For example, (spoiler warning:) when Charis and Taliesin begin to fall in love, she first protests that there is no way they can be together because of their different lineages, their responsibilities to their people, she’s not sure she’s in love with him, etc.  Then, suddenly, without any resolution to these issues, they run off together.  With, of course, zero negative consequences.  (End spoiler.)

Last but not least, at least half of the book consists of long descriptions of pagan rituals, including human sacrifice.  I found these to be both disturbing and boring, and do little to advance the plot.

One positive thing I can say is that Lawhead writes beautiful prose.  His scenes are richly described, vivid and often poetic.  If only his plot and character development matched his prose, this could have been a much better book.

June 25, 2012

Life Update

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , , , , at 11:29 pm by Tamara

It may be hard to tell from the last few posts, but my life really isn’t a book (or a review of a book).  So I guess I should give a life update before I write the next two book reviews I have planned….

You’ve probably already guessed it, but we aren’t going to be going overseas this fall.  As I mentioned here, once we started the application process a bunch of reasons not to go suddenly popped up, and we were left trying to discern whether that was God speaking or just life being life or the enemy being the enemy.  We were concerned about the timing for several reasons, such as our desire to have more kids sometime in the next few years (and the possibility that I’d have to come back to the states if I needed another c-section), and the fact that we’d have to raise all our support in the summer, which is when I also needed to complete my internship for my degree.

Also, right when we were turning in our applications we found out that Adam’s mom’s cancer had started progressing faster than expected.  She was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia a while back, but told it would be ten years or so before she would feel any symptoms or need treatment.  Unfortunately, her check up showed it was progressing faster than they expected, and they said she would probably need to start chemo within the year.  I promised Mom I wouldn’t be dramatic when I wrote about this, but you can imagine how difficult it was for all of us to hear that!  She very much stressed to us that she wanted us to follow God wherever he was leading us, but it was definitely a new factor in our decision process.

So, we did a lot of praying and talking with people we trusted, and finally decided that we should wait at least a year before trying to go overseas.  Ironically, a few days after we decided that, the organization got back with us and told us that they didn’t think they had quite the right placement for us.  So that closed that door!

I had very mixed feelings about that.  My first reaction was to be very thankful that God had clearly closed the door and confirmed our decision to wait.  Unfortunately, other emotions followed quickly on my thankfulness’ heels!  Chief among them was a deep feeling of rejection.  “Why didn’t they want us?  What’s wrong with us?”  And that quickly transitioned into “Why doesn’t GOD want us?”  It’s baffling to me that God clearly calls us to “Go into all the world” and says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” but then when we say “Here am I!  Send me!” he says…”No.”  What do you do with that?

So I had to take a few weeks to really wrestle with some things I believe in my head but had to come to grips with in my heart.  A big one was that God’s love for me has nothing to do with my usefulness to Him.  And that closing one door doesn’t mean He’s given up on me and doesn’t want me anymore.  That He loves me fiercely and unconditionally and considers me as valuable as His own Son, and that will never change.

Once I had some peace in my heart about that whole mess of emotions and lies and truth, it was pretty much back to my old reaction: “Alright, Lord, thank you for clearly closing that door.  But, now, where is your open door?  I’m very thankful for clear ‘No’s,’ but where is your ‘Yes?’”

And…you’ll have to wait for a future blog post about that, because we’re not exactly sure about the answer yet!  We are sure, though, that God doesn’t have us here for no reason.  We don’t want to just be here because we aren’t “there” (wherever there is); we believe God has a reason why we are HERE, NOW.  So we’re trying to be faithful with what’s on our plates right now and keep our eyes open for what God wants to do in and through us right now.  There are a couple things on our radar screens, but this is getting long, so I’ll save them for later.

Mom has had a couple of doctor’s appointments since then, and we’re very thankful that she’s found some fantastic doctors.  They are still thinking she’ll need to start chemo sometime before the end of the year, but say there are some positives about where her condition stands now, such as that she’s still considered stage one.  So we’re waiting, praying, and trusting God.  I’d really appreciate your prayers!!

Thanks for reading, caring, and praying for us!  I can tell you are.  : )

June 14, 2012

Book Review: Loving the Little Years–Motherhood in the Trenches

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , at 12:45 pm by Tamara

Title: Loving the Little Years–Motherhood in the Trenches

Author: Rachel Jankovic

Genre: Christian Parenting: Young Children

Star Verdict (out of five): ****

With five children five and under, Rachel Jankovic says that she didn’t write this book because mothering is easy for her; she wrote it because it isn’t!  I had been looking for a book that was applicable to parents of toddlers, and this was recommended to me by several friends.  This is a short book, only 102 pages, and each chapter is only a few pages long (perfect for the few moments you can snatch in the bathroom.  Heh.)

It is not a heavy doctrine book or “parenting manual,” but is simply thoughts, stories, and thought-provoking questions.  The strength of this book is her focus on our attitudes as mothers, as well as creative analogies to help  kids think about their actions and the attitudes behind them.  My favorite by far was one comparing emotions to horses in order to help kids understand that their emotions are a powerful gift from God, but one that needs to be trained and properly handled so our emotions take us in the right direction.  Throughout the book she brings up all-too-common scenarios (like kids bickering over a toy) and puts a perspective on them that made me think “Huh, I’d never thought of it that way.”

Jankovic shows refreshing humility throughout.  It’s easy to “harrumph” over books that were apparently written by mothers with perfect angel children who always respond perfectly to correction.  This book doesn’t fall in that category; Jankovic is quick to point out that she doesn’t have it all together, nor is she so far removed from the years with young children that she only remembers the heartwarming things and has forgotten all about spaghetti smeared all over the couch, carpet, and walls.  She does, however, have a clear desire to show Jesus to her children, and realizes that this has to begin with letting God work in her own hearts as mothers.

On the downside, some chapters are stronger than others, and I wished she would have backed her views up with more Scripture.  The book is not heavy on doctrine or parenting philosophy, and is certainly not a systematic “Twelve Step Plan to Perfect Children.”  Every family is different, so not all her suggestions will be “magic behavior bullets.”  However, if you’re looking for some short shots of encouragement, fresh ways to think about the struggles of parenting, and simple yet profound challenges, it’s excellent.

June 4, 2012

Book Review: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , at 11:37 am by Tamara

Title: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Author: Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Genre: Non-fiction, food psychology

Star Verdict (out of 5): *****

For: Anyone interested in psychology, healthy eating, marketing, or getting dinner guests to love your dinners and kids to eat their broccoli. Especially for anyone who hates restrictive, pressure-filled diets but wants to eat better.

 

First off, this is not a diet book.

Okay, now that we have that clarified, let’s talk about what it is!

Each of us makes approximately 200 food-related decisions daily, on everything from whether to have a sandwich or salad for lunch, whether or not to eat a candy (or 10) from the dish on the desk, and what to say to the carton of double fudge oreo chocolate ice cream that has been screaming at us from inside the freezer all afternoon.  The problem is, we make 90% of those decisions without even being aware we’re making them.

Sound unbelievable?  Most of us think we’re pretty aware of what we eat, but research says otherwise.  The studies in the book are both fascinating and hilarious—everything from rigging restaurant soup bowls so they never empty, to feeding movie-goers popcorn that is five days old (but free), to slapping a “North Dakota Vineyard” label on a bottle of wine and seeing how much worse the diners rate the entire dinner because of it.

The food industry pays millions of dollars to figure out how to get us to buy and eat more.  The scary thing is that these mindless choices easily add up to gaining 10-20 pounds A YEAR without us having any idea where the weight came from.  The good thing is that we can turn this mindless eating on its head—to actually lose 10-20 pounds in a year without noticing we’ve made a change.

Wansink maintains (as we’ve often heard), that diets don’t work because when we cut back 800 calories a day, both our bodies and our minds feel deprived.  However, there is a “mindless margin” of 100-200 calories that we can cut out without noticing or feeling deprived.  This doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up to 10-20 pounds LOST in a year, without us even noticing we’re eating less.  The book takes the millions of dollars worth of research the food industry has paid for and gives many suggestions of how we can trick our minds and stomachs into mindlessly eating less, while avoiding the tricks restaurants, grocery stores, and food packages use to try to get us to mindlessly eat more.

Wansink has a Ph.D. from Stanford University, is director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and has been featured on National Public Radio and in the New York Times.  The book is part psychology, part marketing, and part nutrition, and written in an easy-to-read format with lots of humor but zero guilt or pressure.  It teaches not only how to avoid mindless eating (and weight gain) but how to use mindless eating for your benefit to eat healthier, lose weight, make your dinner guests think dinner is better than it is, and get your kids to enjoy eating “dinosaur trees.”

June 1, 2012

Child + Sniffles + Paranoia = Hypo-mom-driac

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 11:41 pm by Tamara

A couple nights ago Bear got a cold.  Nothing serious, just a stuffy/runny nose.  So I plugged in the humidifier when I put him in bed, hoping it would help him breathe.  In the morning it was stifling hot in there, so the next night I adjusted things.  Last night was night three of his cold, and the set up in his bedroom was as follows:

  • Humidifier to make it more humid
  • Door open to keep it from getting too humid
  • Window cracked to make it cooler
  • Space heater plugged in to keep it from getting too cold
  • Couple drops of tea tree oil in humidifier to help him breathe
  • Way fewer drops than recommended in case he has an allergic reaction and can’t breathe
  • Lightweight pajamas in case he gets too hot
  • Sleepsack in case he gets too cold
  • White noise machine on to keep it from being too quiet
  • Me, tiptoeing like a cat burglar to keep from being too loud as I check all this to make sure he’s still alive.

Parenting is funny.  ;)

May 5, 2012

Book Review: At Home in Mitford (by Jan Karon)

Posted in Book Reviews, Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 10:25 pm by Tamara

Title: At Home in Mitford

Author: Jan Karon

Genre: Christian Fiction

Star Verdict (out of five): ****

For: Fans of James Herriot, Love Comes Softly series, anyone who needs a relaxing, uplifting read.

After a round of books about Nazi Germany, Abnormal Psychology, human trafficking, abused children, etc., I really needed something uplifting, and the Mitford series has perfectly fit that bill.

The main character is Father Tim, a 60 year old Episcopal priest in the small town of Mitford. Although his grouchy secretary is convinced he is lonely and needs to get out more, he maintains he is content with his bachelor life and time-consuming parish duties. The first indication that his placid life is about to change occurs one day when a giant black dog the size of a Buick tackles him and proceeds to cover him in slobber. The only idea that pops into Father Tim’s head is to shout out a Bible verse, and the dog inexplicably stops its vigorous licking and lies down with a contented sigh.

A dog that only responds to Bible verses is hardly the end of the adventure, however, as his life is quickly invaded by a dirt-covered, love-starved, ill-mannered boy named Dooley who arrives on his doorstep one day and bluntly states that he is looking for a place to “take a dump.” We are also introduced to the elderly and strong-willed heiress Miss Sadie, a hilarious and ornery set of old men who meet at the Grill for breakfast every morning, take-charge fireball “Puny” who is forced on the rector when the parish decides he needs a housekeeper, and a host of other local characters. Along with all this, life-long bachelor Father Tim is horrified to admit that he can’t stop thinking about his lovely, quirky new next door neighbor, Cynthia (in spite of the fact that his dog is determined to kill her cat).

The Mitford books are easy to read, cheerful, and uplifting. They are unquestionably character-driven; it is the relatable, funny, and everyday oddball characters that keep you reading. Unfortunately, my biggest complaint is that the plot is infused with several over-the-top events, including a jewel theft, a dog-napping, and a drug bust. It seemed to me like Karon was finding her voice in this first book and was a little afraid to keep the plot ordinary and let it be driven by the characters. Thankfully, Karon seems more confident in her characters in the later books of the series and these outrageous events are much fewer.

All in all, the Mitford books are very enjoyable, and I thought the way that Karon infused spiritual truths through the thoughts and actions of Father Tim was believable and encouraging. There are simple yet profound challenges sprinkled throughout, musing over real-life struggles such as how hard it is to “simply” obey the Word. I didn’t find it preachy, probably because reading about a priest trying to figure out how to apply truth to everyday life is completely believable to me.

Mitford is a sunny, sweeter-than-life town with just enough reality and struggle to make you think, but not enough reality to make you feel bludgeoned with the evil in the world. Personally, it was just what I was needing.

April 6, 2012

Discouragement

Posted in Watermarks in Progress at 6:13 pm by Tamara

I’m really discouraged.  Would you pray for me?  And tell me if you are?  Thanks, friends.  Love you!

March 15, 2012

Vision and Questions for the Future

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , , , , at 8:54 pm by Tamara

“Let me explain–  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.”  (Name that movie!)

It’s a long story that I’ve shared bits and pieces of, but the summary is that Adam and I have been seriously praying about the possibility of going overseas for two years to do ministry.  We’ve sent in our applications so that we can talk with the organization, find out more about the opportunity, and go from there.  (Incidentally, the application is part of the reason for the lack of block posts lately: too much other writing for the application and school!)

Ever since we started the application process we’ve been blindsided by a bunch of reasons NOT to go.  We’re still processing them, trying to discern if any of them are God saying “Wait” or if they’re just life being life, or the enemy being the enemy, or what.  It’s exhausting and discouraging, but also a good lesson in trust and learning to listen to the Father.  We’re really in limbo so I can’t say what’s going to happen, but if I don’t at least mention it now and we do decide to go, you’ll all think it came out of thin air, so I’m mentioning it!

At any rate, that’s not the real point of this post, just the background.  Here’s the point: I get prayer updates from someone doing ministry in a dangerous part of the world, and they recently had some people visit the region to see about maybe coming to minister there.  This was in a recent update from my friend, and it just about made me cry, because I can so relate!  I can’t share my friend’s name, but they gave me permission to post this.  If you’re in the same boat, I hope it’s encouraging to you, too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Some call them vision trips. Others say they’re survey trips. Whatever the name, it’s all about breathing the air, walking the ground, and wondering if you could do it. Could you make this move? Could you live here, in this stranger than you’ve ever imagined place? It’s about putting your real self and your shimmering dreams before others you may have met only through email, if at all. It’s about listening to what’s said and what’s left unsaid. Its about pushing back the doubts and fears and straining to hear our Father’s voice.

“I am always awed at the courage of vision-trippers. It’s a journey of pure faith; flying face-forward into the abyss. It’s knowing that you’re called but wondering who, if anyone, will receive you. And if they do receive you, will they be glad for it? Will you find a home with the little band, the team you’ve agreed to join? Will you make good decisions? Do you really know who you are? Are you ready? And if you do come, will anyone back home support you? Will people really pray? Will they give? Will they remember you? Will it be enough? And who said you could do this, anyway? Who said you had anything to give? Why don’t you just stay home? Isn’t there enough work to be done there? And how could you take our grandchildren so far away? What about your career and your retirement – and a hundred other challenges?

“This is why I’m always awed at the faith of vision-trippers. These are folks who’ve started the journey. Who’ve stood up and bravely said; ‘I want to go.’  They have some partners who’ve said; ‘I believe in you.’ Who pray and give – who invest in the brave dream that’s not yet been fulfilled. They’ve completed applications and joined an organization. They’ve prayed their hearts out and started counting the cost. They’ve stepped headlong into a spiritual battle the likes of which they’ve never experienced before. The enemy rises up in rage. “Who do you think you are!?!” With weapons of doubt and fear, he would stop us in our tracks if God were not with us. This is why I love vision-trippers. I love their sheer courage and trembling faith. The next steps are clear; join a field-team, raise support and go. If you know any such people, cheer them on. Celebrate their journey. Enjoy the overflow of their faith.”

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